Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Mayor urges action in state of the city address

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The city of London is looking to take a new approach to selling the property known as the Armory.

Located at 15 E. Second St., the two-story brick building originally belonged to the Ohio National Guard. The city bought the long-vacant building in the 1990s to house an after-school program for middle school students organized by London residents.

The after-school program dissolved a couple of years ago. The building’s most recent tenant was Crossroads Community Church, whose lease expired in October 2013. ReadyFM 105.1 continues to lease a small part of the Armory to operate a local radio station.

The city has tried to sell the building three times in the past three years via a sealed bid process. Each time, the city received no bids.

By Ohio law, a municipality has two options for selling property on its own—sealed bid or public auction. What London City Council is considering now is a third option that puts the job of selling the property in someone else’s hands.

Ohio law allows a municipality to designate a community improvement corporation (CIC) as its selling agent, which in turn allows for a more traditional real estate sales process.

On Jan. 2, council held a first reading on a resolution to name Madison County Future Inc., the CIC affiliated with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, as its selling agent. Madison County Future Inc. is made up of private and public investors, including the city of London.

If council passes the resolution and the CIC agrees to be the city’s selling agent, the two parties likely will work out an agreement in which the CIC gets a small percentage of the selling price in exchange for its services, said Stephen Hume, London’s safety-service director.

Proceeds from the sale, minus the CIC’s cut, will go back into the city’s coffers.

“Right now, there’s no specific plan for where the money will go. It is likely, however, it will go to the Community Center, which needs improvements and is seeing tremendous use,” Hume said.

The CIC resolution will be up for a second reading at council’s next meeting slated for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in council chambers, 6 E. Second St. A resolution goes through three readings before being put to a vote unless council suspends the rules for an earlier vote.

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